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Reviews: Mahler: Symphony No. 8 - San Francisco/Michael Tilson Thomas

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Reviews: 4

Site review by Geohominid September 21, 2009
Performance:   Sonics:    
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Review by ruxtonvet August 23, 2010 (5 of 19 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
When I buy an SACD I am looking for excellent sound quality and hopefully an excellent performance. I do not have enough experience with this piece to comment on the performance but as to the sound quality it is poor. Shrill high frequencies and I mean painful especially on disc one of this two disc set. My system does not emphasize high frequencies so the fault is not with my system. Organ- what organ? Quiet passages are not bad but loud passage break up - not what I want from an SACD. Deep bass- lacking. So let's sum up: shrill treble, inadequate bass and dynamics and a missing organ. If your audio system cannot reproduce the above you may not be missing much but then why buy an SACD?

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Review by charliemb June 28, 2013 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Just wanted to comment in response to the bad review of the sonics. The sonics are wonderful on at least the stereo tracks. No shrill highs on my system at all as one other reviewer posted.

The dynamic range on this disc is very high. As such, the soft parts are very low in volume unless you have a high power amplifier. However, this is typical for a classical SACD. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Excellent sound, all the way around.

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Review by Luukas March 18, 2015 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This disc got three Grammys: "Best Classical Album", "Best Choral Performance" and "Best Engineered Classical Album". And indeed: I was impressed when I heard this at the first time.

Mahler's Eighth Symphony was his career's absolutely culmination. The first performance contained nearly 1000 musicians. It's no wonder [that] Symphony has named "Symphony of Thousand".
I watched the trailer "A Universe of Sound" before I bought this item. It was very interesting: Tilson Thomas told this recording's backgrounds and engineering team revealed the massive score's challenges.
Performance is excellent, nearly outstanding. Thomas' tempi are well-considered, he has exact vision of this symphony's overall picture. Gramophone wrote: "Tilson Thomas's reading is always warm and spontaneous-sounding but its real strength lies in the way phrases connect so that what can sometimes seem, on certain versions, merely a series of episodes...emerges very much 'of a piece'...Tilson Thomas [draws] more colour and variety (tonal and emotional) from the score than almost any of his rivals".
Tenth Symphony's first movement, Adagio, is delightful bonus. Its beauty and passion are very touching. Mahler wrote it just before his death and he really watched Death to eye to eye. It was at the same time his farewell to life and his obituary to his wife Alma.

The 5.1 surround recording is very good; it is clear and pure. Highly recommend!

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